Sci-fi and fantasy are two of the biggest genres in literature, yet, the most popular books to come from the genres are often Eurocentric. Africa has a rich history of amazing sci-fi and fantasy books that are worth giving a read, and this article suggests just a few out of the many stories that are out there.
Black Leopard Red Wolf- Marlon James
This is the first novel in a planned fantasy trilogy by the author and was released in 2019. The book created so much buzz that actor Michael B. Jordan bought the film rights to adapt the book before it was released last year. The book centres around the protagonist, Tracker, who is known for his hunting skills. Tracker is notoriously solitary in his work but when he has to find a child who has disappeared. He bands together with a team of mercenaries, all equipped with their own skills. This book is perfect for anyone who loves sprawling adventure stories and an interesting ensemble of characters. The book takes inspiration from African mythology and creates a vivid ancient world. The book has been compared to Game of Thrones but is Afrocentric.
“Africa has a rich history of amazing sci-fi and fantasy books that are worth giving a read…“
Zoo City- Lauren Beukes
This sci-fi novel was met with excitement when it was released in 2010, and its popularity still holds true today. The story is based in an alternate version of a modern-day Johannesburg, the only twist being that anyone who has committed a crime gets attached to an animal familiar. The lead character, Zinzi, has a sloth as her animal familiar. The novel features many familiar places in Joburg and is a fun read for any South African. The novel is currently in the process of being adapted into a film.
Children of Blood and Bone- Tomi Adeyemi
Children of Blood and Bone has garnered hype and popularity since its release in 2018. This is the first book in a series, and its sequel Children of Virtue and Vengeance was released in late 2019. The series is set in West Africa and uses the mythology of the region to create its magical world. The first book is currently being adapted for the screen by Fox and Disney. The series follows the protagonist, Zelie, as she journeys to return magic to her people after it was taken away by an evil monarch. The book features strong female characters and tackles some difficult topics as well.
“Children of Blood and Bone has garnered hype and popularity since its release in 2018.“
Rosewater- Tade Thompson
Rosewater is the first book in a trilogy of science fiction books set in Nigeria and was first published in 2016. Set in Africa in 2066, we follow protagonist and narrator Kaaro who is able to access people’s feelings, thoughts, and memories. When Kaaro realises that someone is murdering people who have special abilities like him, he investigates who is behind the murders. Kaaro’s world is also in the middle of an alien invasion. The Rosewater trilogy was a critical success and a must-read for any sci-fi lovers.
The Rage of Dragons- Evan Winter
This epic is the debut fantasy novel from author Evan Winter who was raised in Africa near the territory of his Xhosa ancestors. This book was met with good reviews and comparisons to some of the greatest fantasy books in the genre’s history. The book follows protagonist Tau on his revenge journey in a carefully crafted and vivid fantasy world. This book is perfect for anyone who loves an action-driven story. The novel is inspired primarily by Xhosa culture but takes inspiration from many African cultures. Winter also recently announced that the book would be getting three sequels.
Image: Cletus Mulaudi